inventory

Are You Taking Full Advantage of Your Business Software?

One of the most important concepts in the business world is return on investment (ROI), and that concept can be applied to business software as well. In short, there are costs and benefits to any business software package, and it’s up to the organization to prove that the benefits far outweigh the negatives over the long term.

ROI is one simple number that expresses just how much of a boost you are getting from your new business software. Some of these results may be tangible,such as increased sales, and some of them may be intangible—such as increased productivity or improved worker satisfaction. So how do you go about taking full advantage of your business software and maximizing ROI?

Make Sure You Are Updating Old Processes in Addition to Old Software

There’s one big problem with old legacy software that doesn’t work—it also leads to a lot of convoluted workarounds that no longer make sense. These workaround have often become so ingrained in how we do business that employees will cling to them, even when there’s a new business software that has been implemented. The easiest cure for this problem is a comprehensive training program that teaches employees how to use the software properly, and that also helps to educate them how it can make their lives easier.

Make Sure Employees are Using the Software Efficiently

There’s something about physical paper that makes employees feel more comfortable than trusting a digital stream of 1’s and 0’s on the computer screen. But that leads to a lot of bad habits, like using printed reports and handwritten notes in lieu of software. Software can run optimally when all the necessary information is available. In addition, make sure that employees are entering information to the system as efficiently as possible. Sometimes, the manual keying in of data may not be required.

Make Sure All Software is Fully Integrated

Within any organization, it’s common to think of silos—where data may languish without being shared throughout the organization. That’s one problem that modern business software is meant to address. And that’s also one reason why Spire offers a fully integrated set of features—everything from accounting to inventory management.

Whenever possible, try to avoid using external, non-integrated solutions. Often, your new business management software has a lot of functionality that just hasn’t been tapped yet. The goal is seamless integration.

The best advice, when it comes to maximizing the value of your new business management software, is to figure out all the triggers and pain points for the organization. That’s where you’ll want to focus as you search for a new business software solution. And then, two to three months after you go live, you can follow up again. The key is to schedule regular check-ups and follow-ups so that the software is always performing at its peak capabilities. When that happens, you’ll have found out a way to maximize your software’s ROI, and that’s a rewarding win that you can share with all the stakeholders of the organization!

Five Big Reasons for Inventory Management Automation

Too many organizations are put off by what they perceive as the cost, complexity and time of implementing a new solution to automate their inventory management. But fear not—there are actually five big reasons why inventory management automation should be a part of every organization:

Reason #1: Efficiency Gains

Let’s face it, manually keying in inventory data is time-consuming. When you automate the process, though, you’ll start to streamline the entire process of inventory management. Your whole organization will become more efficient as details about your inventory are updated automatically without the need for manual data entry.

Reason #2: Accuracy Gains

There’s also a hidden cost to manual data entry: human error. In short, even the fastest, most reliable employees don’t always key in data correctly, and that could lead to stock-outs when you can least afford them. You no longer have to guess about inventory levels, or rely on safety stock just in case your numbers were wrong.

Reason #3: Real-time Visibility

Best of all, automating the inventory management process means that you can obtain real-time visibility into your inventory. At any given point in time, you’ll know exactly how many items remain in inventory and this helps to keep your business running smoothly. You’ll also be able to produce the types of management reports needed to see how your business is performing at any time.

Reason #4: Scalability

Organizations make the mistake of thinking they don’t need to automate the way they manage their inventory because “they aren’t big enough.” However, this belief could severely constrain your ability to grow in the future. The time to automate your inventory management process is when it’s still at a manageable level so that it becomes more efficient as your business grows.

Reason #5: Integration with Other Business Processes

Implementing an integrated solution needs to be a priority. It’s the single best way of guaranteeing that every part of your business will be able to communicate with each other. After all, your products are the lifeblood of your business, why would you not want to make inventory management a top priority?

The good news is that Spire is a fully integrated accounting and inventory management solution that can be customized to your organization’s size and complexity. Often, you’ll find that business software with inventory management automation can pay for itself with all of the efficiency and productivity gains that it brings to your business.

Want to see how Spire can automate your inventory management? Sign up for a demo here.

Is It Time to Change the Way You Track Your Inventory?

Your inventory is the lifeblood of your business and proper management is essential to stay competitive in today’s marketplace. Even if you feel you’ve managed inventory just fine for years, there are always new better ways to go about it.

Mistakes in Excel spreadsheets are common, which opens your business up to human error. A lack of inventory management is a cause for many businesses failing. To be truly effective and efficient with inventory, you need a solution that can automate processes, provide real-time data and eliminate errors that cost you money.

Here’s how your business can benefit from a new inventory management solution:

Customer Satisfaction

Your primary concern is keeping your customers happy. Constant inventory mistakes and delays can motivate your customers to find another company that provides faster, better service. If you have frustrated customers, consider implementing a new inventory management software to help track inventory and improve product availability. In doing so, you’ll notice greater customer satisfaction and retention, all of which will lead to a growing business.

Improved Data Accuracy

Smaller companies can typically use an Excel spreadsheet without any mistakes. However, growing businesses immediately experience Excel limitations in regards to data inaccuracies and forecasting problems.

Obviously, data inaccuracies can lead to multiple issues down the road. Besides keying errors, spreadsheets themselves are out of date. When more than one employee has access to them, you end up with even greater errors. If your inventory is shuffled between locations, this causes confusion within employees when they need inventory details. An inventory management system allows multiple employees to work on the inventory which saves time and prevents errors.

Scalability and Growth

In addition to greater control of your inventory, updating to a more robust inventory management solution can contribute to the growth of your business. As your company expands with multiple warehouses, you will require inventory software that will allow you to track multiple line items across multiple warehouses. So ask yourself, do you want to continue using a solution that can’t keep up with your business?

Accurate Forecasting

Inaccurate data leads to serious problems, both in the present and future. Excess inventory write-offs are costly and often the result of not knowing what you have in stock. When you don’t know what’s in your inventory, employees will end up wasting time searching for items, while customers will walk away frustrated because you don’t have the products they need. An inventory management solution with strong reporting features will give you greater visibility so you always know when to order new inventory and track which items move the fastest.

Still not sure if you’re ready invest in a new inventory management solution? Try calculating how many sales you’ve lost due to inventory errors or lack of product availability. The missed revenue should give you enough reason to make the switch to Spire, a more advanced solution to keep customers satisfied and increase your bottom line.

 

Are You Still Using Excel for Inventory Management?

It’s a natural mistake to make: thinking that you can manage inventory using an Excel spreadsheet. The problem is that relying on Excel spreadsheet templates means that your business will never be as profitable as you would like it to be.

That’s because there are two big misconceptions about using Excel — one is that Excel is so popular, that it must be cheap, simple and easy to use for business owners. The second big misconception is that business management software is way too expensive, complex and unnecessary for small business owners.

You can see the problem here, right? The first misconception convinces you that Excel is “just good enough” to work. And the second misconception convinces you that any other option to Excel must be overkill.

If you can get past these two misconceptions, though, you can grow both your productivity and profitability! When it comes to implementing an inventory management system you need to take a big picture view of your business. Making sure that inventory is properly managed and that inventory levels are always matched up with changes in supply and demand is vital if your business is going to succeed in a hyper-competitive, global marketplace.

By going beyond Excel spreadsheets, you will be better able to thrive in a global business environment, where currency rate swings and other factors play a role in pricing and logistics. In short, your inventory is connected into a massive global supply chain, whether you want to recognize it or not.

You will also gain more insight into the real-time condition of your business, thanks to sophisticated forecasting tools that are baked into many business management software solutions. With Excel, you are narrowly limited to the here and now, and that doesn’t help your business in the future.

By moving beyond Excel, you will also be able to optimize your inventory. That means no more overstocks, and no more stock outs. Overstocks are particularly important to avoid, since they represent a cash flow drain on the business (all that cash to purchase all that inventory!), as well as a massive case of inefficiency stemming from all the labor and storage costs to manage that inventory. Let’s face it, those products should be on store shelves, not waiting in a warehouse somewhere.

With an integrated accounting and inventory management software, you can become the paradigm of the just-in-time enterprise, getting exactly the right amount of inventory at just the right time.

The bottom line is that when it comes to managing your inventory, saving money upfront by using Excel will only lead to unexpected costs on the backend. You will find yourself always one step behind the curve. So avoid the inefficiencies, errors and delays caused by using Excel for inventory management. By switching to Spire, you will be able to optimize your inventory levels and lay the foundation for an efficient, profitable business!

How to Track Your Inventory

Entering a customer order can be a cumbersome task when using outdated software. It’s even worse if your current software is unable to track inventory correctly and you unknowingly sell out-of-stock products. This leads to customer dissatisfaction and can hurt your business.

Consistent inventory mishaps lead to a shrinking customer base. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way if you’re using the proper inventory management software.

Before you decide to look for a new inventory management solution, consider the following:

Business Challenges

Inefficient Processes

There is a problem if your employees spend a good deal of time to find items in your warehouse. Using the right inventory management software will help improve efficiency when entering orders, receiving inventory and shipping your products to customers.

As well, inventory management software should be easy to learn, enabling several employees to be trained simultaneously. A highly trained workforce saves you time and money down the road and leads to fewer customer support calls.

Cost Control

Despite the upfront costs, an inventory management software can save you a significant amount of money both in the short and long-term. Business consultants can assist you in determining your return on investment (ROI) and you may be amazed by how quickly this investment will pay for itself.

Wrong Data

Your inventory records should be 100% accurate. Using Excel spreadsheets to track your inventory will lead to frequent errors that will cause serious problems for your business. An efficient, accurate and easy to use inventory management system is the best way to avoid this problem.

Unbalanced Inventory

Too many items left in your warehouse will cost you money. Too few and you’re missing opportunities. Inventory management software will give you the data you need to plan accordingly and help meet your customers’ needs on time.

Must-Have Software Capabilities

Product Attributes

If you have hundreds of products, then you need a software that can track product categories, including sizes, styles and colors.

Purchase Orders

Your inventory management software should be able track products from the initial sale to delivery, while automatically adjusting inventory levels.

Real-time Product Data

Knowing when items are back-ordered or out-of-stock is highly valuable. It allows you to plan ahead and inform customers.

Proper inventory tracking is a must if you want to create a long-term plan for improved business growth. With Spire, you get an accounting and inventory management solution designed to help lower costs, increase efficiency and keep you ahead of the competition.

Learn how Spire can help achieve the results you want. Contact us for a free trial.

How Business Management Software Can Help with a Product Recall

Having the ability to properly track your products is an important aspect for any manufacturing or distribution business. You need to track each and every item coming in and out of your warehouse with a lot or serial number. In the event of a recall, your business management software can help ease the pain of tracking the recalled products. No matter what your reason is for the product recall, whether a faulty product or a spoiled food item, a good business management software with lot tracking capabilities will help you find your recalled products on warehouse shelves, as well as products already shipped out.

Lot traceability includes keeping an accurate record of which and when raw materials have been received. Using raw materials in your products will require you to trace their trail through your manufacturing facility so that you can pull any faulty materials immediately, as well as any finished goods that have been made. Accurate records will allow the suppliers to be accountable for any faulty raw materials they have shipped to you, and allow you to seek compensation for any finished goods that your company needs to discard.

Depending on what you manufacture, your customer’s safety could be at stake. Faulty car parts need to be removed from the market at once before causing accidents. Spoiled food must be removed from shelves. Not only do you not want anyone to be injured, but your business could be liable for lawsuits as well.

If you’ve shipped products that have been recalled, tracking down these products becomes a top priority as the reputation of your company could be at stake. You want to remain a company that consumers trust. When you ship a faulty product, it’ll not only create a lot of aggravation for stores, but your customers may start looking elsewhere for a more reliable supplier.

A fully integrated business management software can help trace which products were shipped to your customers. Keeping detailed records will enable you to quickly contact your customers so they can start pulling the products from their shelves and ship them back to you. Being transparent and keeping an open line of communication will help maintain customer relations.

A business management solution with an advanced inventory management and lot tracking system is essential for any distribution or manufacturing business. If your business is undergoing a recall, proper tracking of inventory items will help expedite this process and minimize any negative effects on your business.

5 Tips to Optimize Your Inventory

Using inventory management software will enable small business owners in the distribution and manufacturing industries to manage their parts, stock, and labor more efficiently.

Here are five tips to help optimize your inventory:

1. An Integrated Business Management Solution

One fully-featured business management system will save you money in the long run, rather than having multiple systems to handle your accounting and inventory. A good business management software will include an inventory module to help optimize stock levels. All your business processes will be integrated into one solution, saving you time and money.

The inventory module will store an accurate count of inventory items so you don’t have to tie up unnecessary cash in inventory that’s not selling fast enough. You’ll be better able to calculate how much stock to have on hand, while having enough cash to spend in other areas of your business. A good business management software will identify what stock is moving quickly out of the warehouse and what is still sitting on the pallets.

2. Do an Inventory Count

Even the best inventory control system won’t keep track of human errors. Sometimes, mistakes can happen. A worker can make mistakes on customer orders and sometimes, stock can go missing. That’s when a solid physical count of inventory comes in handy. Spend the time having a formal inventory count, so you can adjust your records in your inventory control software.

3. Apply the 80/20 Principle

In many industries, 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your stock. Once you’ve analyzed your sales patterns you can apply this to purchasing a greater percentage of inventory of your most popular items, while saving on shipping costs by ordering extra stock with one order.

4. Share Inventory Data with Vendors

Share your inventory data with your vendors, so they can assist you in replenishing your stock. An efficient means of communication should be established between you and your vendor, so that they can provide your inventory in a timely manner.

5. Analyze Inventory Reports

Analyze when your customers make orders. Do you have enough stock to ship immediately, or do you make your clients wait? You could be losing money, as you can’t invoice for goods not shipped yet. Unhappy customers will find someone who can meet their needs. Stock should be shipped out in a timely manner, particularly during the busiest times of the year.

Accurately predict how much stock you need to keep on hand for your customers using a business management solution with integrated accounting and inventory features. The software will help you to evaluate each customer’s needs, so you can plan in advance.

Optimizing your inventory will allow you to effectively manage your company’s finances, and have the time to make adjustments as needed. Your business management software will provide detailed inventory reports, so you can see where you need to make changes. An integrated system will be beneficial to your business, helping it to thrive, as you’ll get your inventory under control, and be able to more accurately predict how quickly inventory will flow in and out of your warehouse.

Can Business Management Software Help Make Your Business More Profitable?

This is a guest blog post by Diane Ferguson, CEO of Micro-Vision, located in Nanaimo, BC.

Business management software can help manage all aspects of your business and improve overall efficiency. An integrated solution that has order management and inventory control systems working seamlessly as one integrated package will save time, instead of requiring you to spend unnecessary hours putting together reports from a variety of software programs.

Producing detailed and accurate reports will provide insight into your business operations and help you make better decisions to grow your business.

Here’s how an integrated business management solution can help make your business more profitable:

Reducing Costs

Reducing your costs is one method to increase profitability. For a distribution business, inventory costs can be quite high and a fully integrated business management software can definitely help optimize inventory levels to keep costs down. Without software to keep track of your inventory, you will not know when you need to reorder. Too much inventory can result in increased costs, particularly if it’s not being moved fast enough.

Take Advantage of Volume Discounts

Most suppliers will offer a price break when placing a large order to replenish your inventory. However, it’s important to know what to order, and having detailed inventory reports can help you make this decision.

Inventory Data Analysis

Business management software for retail businesses will allow you to make adjustments in your inventory on a regular basis. Your software will allow you to analyze higher-performing inventory, and keep track of trends. You should be able to track how quickly your vendors ship to you through seasonal variants. Some items may sell better at a certain time of year. Your inventory reports will tell you which inventory is underperforming, and give you the insight to keep your higher-performing inventory on store shelves.

Decision Making Will Become Easier

Make better decisions by analyzing sales figures and trends to understand how your business is financially performing. With accurate financial data, making decisions become easier and will deliver results that will positively impact the growth of your business.

Finding the right business management solution can help make your business more profitable. Take advantage of all the benefits of your business management software to better serve your customers, reduce costs and gain visibility to your business operations.

Using Software to Track Your Inventory

If you run a business that requires a lot of inventory, then you know that managing inventory can be one of those aspects that is costly and very time-consuming for you and your staff.  Your time is important and you need to find the best inventory control software that will help reduce the amount of time you are spending on fixing errors.

An integrated accounting and inventory management solution will increase your productivity, improve efficiency and streamline processes. This will give you more time to focus on growing your business.

Human error can account for a wide range of mistakes on your inventory balance sheets. Mistakes can be made while totaling, and no matter how many people may check the totals again, your employees may just be tired at the end of the day. Mistakes will slip through. This can cost you money in taxes at the end of the year. With reliable inventory software, products are scanned in, so entering data is eliminated. Totals are calculated automatically and fewer mistakes will be made. This will provide a more accurate inventory report so you can efficiently predict how much inventory you need to order, or figure out what isn’t selling and focus on pushing that product out the door.

It can be extremely time-consuming for your staff to manually enter inventory statistics onto their clipboard. You will no longer need someone to continually count inventory, as the correct number will be available from the software, day in and out. When inventory is sold, the number will automatically be adjusted in your inventory control software. You’re likely running around with your head cut off as staff aren’t keeping track properly. Customers may be getting angry when they place an order, but you have to inform them you’re waiting for new inventory to come in. Customers remember this and may look elsewhere next time. If you have an accurate inventory tracking software, a lot of time will be saved, which translates into saving money for the business as well.

There’s a wide range of inventory control software products on the market. Some are free, some involve a monthly fee, and some cost a one-time fee. Each has their own unique set of features, so it’s important to carefully consider which package is right for your business. Whether you occasionally sell online, or you have a large store where keeping track of inventory is important, you can benefit from an inventory control system.

Inventory control software will allow you to manage all aspects of your business, from purchasing new items, tracking inventory levels, and producing sales and inventory reports. An integrated accounting and inventory management system will be beneficial to your business by saving valuable time spending on repetitive tasks.

Finding the best inventory software will save your company time and money, allowing you to spend more time effectively managing more important aspects of your business.

Finding the Right Business Management Software

As a business owner, the days are filled with projects, managing staff, and finding ways to increase profits. There’s not a lot of time to spend on each task, so you’re always looking for a better way to manage your business. Sometimes hiring extra staff can be a costly venture, particularly when you don’t have the time or money to train someone. Implementing a business management software can help your business become more efficient and productive.

An ERP software system can be the best solution for managing all facets of your business. Enterprise resourcing planning systems are business management solutions that comes with built-in accounting, payroll, budgeting, distribution, and inventory control. If you’re using several different software tools right now, it may be time to reevaluate their productivity. It can be time-consuming to switch back and forth between software, entering the same data in multiple systems. By having all your tools in one program will save you time and money right here. ERP software is an all-in-one business management tool that helps you save you time and money in the long run.

It can be difficult to find the best business management software for your needs. Some software will focus on only one aspect of your business such as accounting, while other packages offer a variety of software management tools for your business. You will need to carefully consider your software needs before moving forward with a specific software vendor.

Business management software will store all your files electronically, so you won’t need to keep filing cabinets full of information. This will give you more space in the office. It’s also not productive having filing cabinets that you don’t use very often. Storing information on the computer is a safer and more efficient way of keeping confidential information.

If you have a storefront or a distribution company, then you’d benefit from a robust inventory control software. Right now your inventory control program may be fairly basic. Inventory control can be built-in to your business management software, better streamlining your processes. As well, it should allow you to analyze sales and produce detailed reports, so you have up-to-date information. You should be able access this information easily to see how your business is doing. This will enable you to focus on items that aren’t selling as well as others, or finding trends that you can cash in on.

Many business management software vendors will offer a free trial period, where you can try out their software and decide if it meets your needs. Nothing is worse than paying good money for a software program, only to find it doesn’t fit your needs, and you have to purchase a second program to make up for the shortfall. Make sure that your new business management software system works for all aspects of your business.

Start making notes on what you’re looking for in a good business management software. Be sure to consult with the management team, and all other departments who will be using their program. Your IT department will need to be involved in order to understand the technical aspects of the project.

You will need an implementation plan for your new business management software. The software vendor will assign a project manager to ensure that the software is up and running in a timely manner. An internal point of contact should keep all departments in the loop about progress made with the software implementation and training schedule.

A constantly growing and changing business means that you need software that is adaptable to the changes of your business. You don’t want to alter your business processes to suit your software. A good business management software system will easily adapt to all changes quickly and easily. It can be costly buying new software for every aspect of your business. One complete business management system can fulfill all of your business needs.

Finding the right business management software will help you to streamline your business, allowing you more time to focus on growing your business.